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    A CONSUMER ALERT

    by Sister Wendy

    Even though Iím between gigs, Iíve been good about careful and productive management of my time ≠ or so I thought. My smug self-image began to unravel a few days ago when I found myself musing on how the Movie Geek is really cute. But the nail in the coffin of my squandering too much time on television came crashing into my consciousness like ≠ uh ≠ well like a nail in a coffin. I overheard myself moaning when one of those hot lawyer babes on CourtTV came back from a break and just smiled [Insert rude joke about "chambers" and "no objections" here]. After I crashed to the reality of my frittering away my time, I decided to reassess what Iíve been doing. But as bad as the time Iíve wasted on television has been, there is something far worse: the Internet. The time I have spent there is simply appalling.

    Like most people, Iíve done my share of random searching and following link after link after link into a rabbit warren of useless information (perhaps "information" is too dignified a term). For example, I am now aware of the research on the acoustical properties of personal lubricants (of course, who didnít already know that Surgirlube was better at conducting sound than KY?). And if I have to click off one more time on the stupid ad for wireless minicams... (yeah, we know, youíre trying to sell them to some nerdy guys who really dream about spying on the skinny young models in every ad ≠ itís not going to happen).

    Among the many big wasters of time is something I feel compelled to warn people about. It is Classmates.com. You may have seen their ads at Yahoo or other search engines. They encourage you to join them so you can get in contact with all the folks you used to know in high school but have lost track of. I spent a lot of time there finding the names of so many people I had forgotten about. Of course, you canít actually contact anybody. Classmates expects you to give them $25 before theyíll release any e-mail addresses. They just let you look at long lists of names as you wonder what happened to these people and where are they now. After looking at the names for a few weeks, I realized that I didnít really like any of these people and I didnít really care whatever happened to most of them (no, I take that back, I have prayed that some of them were arrested and locked away for a long time). Classmates, to be fair, isnít entirely heartless; they do have a message board in which you can post your thoughts and feelings and read those of others you may know (all, of course, without any e-mail addresses or even street addresses ≠ thatís 25 bucks, remember?). Here is an actual example of a poem posted by someone I really went to high school with (asterisks have been inserted to cover the names of real people):

    Long term memory loss? Uh huh...
    Bumpy Action
    Distortion
    The Music Box
    The Coffee House
    Trippin' on the field trip to Federal Court.
    Parties at Glen's place.
    Dan H****
    Chris S*********
    The riot at Memorial Park.
    The black angel.
    KOIL
    Beaker Street
    Hummel Park
    Orange 4 ways
    Purple Haze
    Everything...turn...turn...turn

    Yeah, this is basically crap.

    If youíre still in (or near) high school, you might think: "Hey, maybe someday, when I'm through with all of this, I would like to get reacquainted with all the folks I spent so much time with." But ask yourself this questions: "Are most of them boneheads?" The years may pass, life flows on and we all may change and grow, but you know, a bonehead is always going to be a bonehead. Let the people who really thought high school was great pay the $25 (it's the kind of thing they would do, isn't it?).

    *

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